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Cable 995: Land Activist Targeted in Northern Colombia

Cable 995: Land Activist Targeted in Northern Colombia

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Published by Andres
This is a 2007 US embassy report on threats received by Colombian land activist Eloina Gaspar, in all likelihood as a result of her involvement in a land dispute with individuals tied to illegal right wing paramilitary groups in the department of Cordoba in northern Colombia.
This is a 2007 US embassy report on threats received by Colombian land activist Eloina Gaspar, in all likelihood as a result of her involvement in a land dispute with individuals tied to illegal right wing paramilitary groups in the department of Cordoba in northern Colombia.

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Published by: Andres on Jul 05, 2012
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O 111747Z APR 07FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4003C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 002392SUBJECT: GOC PROTECTS LAND RIGHTS ACTIVIST
REF: A. BOGOTA 923B. BOGOTA 1013Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer.Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d)
-------Summary-------
¶1. (C) Cordoba department land activist EloinaGaspar told us on March 25 she was being threatenedby people who had identified her as the replacementfor Popular Housing Organization founder YolandaIzquierdo, murdered in late January (ref A). OnApril 1, the Prosecutor General's Office movedGaspar out of Monteria to Cali with her 16-year-oldson. Justice and Interior Minister Holguin toldthe Charge April 10 the GOC is protecting 30 high-profile victims' advocates, including ten fromCordoba (septel). End summary.
 
----------------------------GOC Protecting Land Activist----------------------------
2. (C) On our March 25-26 trip to Monteria,Cordoba department, land activist Eloina Gaspartold us her life was in danger and she wanted toleave Cordoba. She said the Police checked herhouse at least once a day to ensure her safety andthe Prosecutor General's Office (Fiscalia) promisedher to send her to another city (which they did onApril 1, moving Gaspar and her 16-year-old son toXXXXXXXXXXXX where XXXXXXXXXXXX). Gasparsubsequently told us the Police in XXXXXXXXXXXXchecked on her welfare several times a day. Shewas already looking for a job. The Fiscaliapromised they would also try to help her two oldersons, who remained in Monteria, to move toXXXXXXXXXXXX at a later date. Gaspar told us shewas grateful for the help she had received from theGOC thus far and she was going to try to slowlydisengage from the Popular Housing Organization.3. (C) Gaspar replaced Popular HousingOrganization founder Yolanda Izquierdo, who wasmurdered in late January. She told us she hadtried to avoid becoming a target, but her closerelationship with Izquierdo and her leadershipwithin the group of plot owners or "parceros,"prevented her from being a "spectator."XXXXXXXXXXXX, told us two people with allegedparamilitary ties, Diego Sierra and Sor TeresaGomez, were responsible for Izquierdo'smurder inMonteria. He said Sor Teresa Gomez's associateshad identified Gaspar as Izquierdo's replacement,
 
and had made threats in an effort to persuade herto retract the claim that Gomez participated in thekilling of Izquierdo.
------------------------------------------GOC Improving Victim Protection Mechanisms------------------------------------------
¶4. (C) TheFiscalia's Technical InvestigativeCorps Cordoba Director Cerly Otero said theFiscalia's victims' protection program was good,but still needed work on implementation. Otero toldus the GOC's failure to protect the life of peoplelike Izquierdo reflected a lack of resources andexperience. XXXXXXXXXXXX told us on April 10 theFiscalia's victims' protection program was cuttingoff victims from their personal support networksand rewarding the "bad people" by relocating them.He insisted the GOC's victims' protection programshould be able to protect victims in theircommunities.¶5. (C) Cordoba's Police Commander Col. JaimeVelasco warned that the lack of resources made thepolice unable to respond to the vast number ofrequests for protection. Velasco said he haddivided the city into quadrants to patrol, helpingto ensure the safety of those under protection.Cordoba's Ombudswoman Julia Rodriguez said claimsof threats had increased significantly in the lasttwo years. Rodriguez regarded this a sign thatpeople felt safe to make complaints, but saidadditional protection was needed. In late March,the GOC announced special measures to provide

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